Recent observers have offered evidence that social and economic change is coming to the South more rapidly than to other sections of the country. There can be little doubt in the minds of those who know the region that TVA has played a prominent part in effecting the transformation. The effect of the operations and activities of TVA has been quite as marked upon the governments as upon the society and economy of the region.
We should not lose sight of the fact that TVA has had substantial effect upon government throughout the country, and indeed throughout the world. This effect is not restricted to its power, engineering, and atomic energy achievements. TVA's resource-use activities, while designed primarily for the Valley region, are in many respects transferable to other areas. For present purposes, however, we are concerned only with the effect of TVA on Southern governments.
Much has been written about TVA, and especially about its “grass roots” approach to the problems entrusted to its stewardship. The writings of Clapp, Durisch, Lilienthal, and Satterfield have copiously documented this aspect of the Authority's influence upon the nation's governmental establishments. There yet remains, however, the task of a forthright assessment of the effect of TVA upon governmental institutions and processes. What changes have come to Valley governments which might not have come had there been no TVA? What are those governments now, in matters of structure, program, techniques, competence, vision, and relationships, that they might not have become if the great Valley experiment had never been undertaken?